L'Ombre de l'Olivier

The Shadow of the Olive Tree

being the maunderings of an Englishman on the Côte d'Azur

21 July 2007 Blog Home : July 2007 : Permalink

Your Tax Pounds At Work

Via Harry's Place is this story in the Torygraph:

A black dustman has been banned from wearing a St George's Cross bandana because council officials say it could be regarded as racist.

Matthew Carter, 35, who was born in Barbados, used the headgear to keep his dreadlocks out of the way while he was on his rounds in Burnley, Lancs. He had done so for seven months before his photograph appeared in a local newspaper. A number of local people complained, and his superiors called him.

"I received a verbal warning," Mr Carter said yesterday. "They told me the St George's Cross was not allowed to be seen on any clothing we wear because it could be considered offensive and racist."

One wonders how many "a number" were. One also wonders why these people are living in Burnley (a town in the NW of England) if they are so upset with the idea of England? I try not to repeat mindless racist slogans but "Fuck off back to wogland"* does spring to mind as I read this. Unless of course it was a couple of Mr Carter's mates complaining for a joke (in which case I hope they were as pasty white as it is possible to be). However no matter whether it is a joke or not the local jobsworths sprang into action with their usual complete and utter lack of either sense or proportion:

Ian McInery, the operational services manager for Pendle council, defended the decision to discipline Mr Carter. He said: "We have made it clear to staff that they are not allowed to put stickers or flags on bin wagons or wear clothing which shows support for a particular team, group or country.

"We can't make one rule for one person and one for another. It's just a common-sense approach that we are sticking to."

Matthew Carter, who has been told by Pendle Council to ditch his St Georges Cross bandana.This is a defninition of common sense that is umm about 180° away from the usual one. I can see that wandering around England with (say) a Hamas baseball cap on, or sticking American flags on bins might be considered divisive (I would find the former offensive rather than the latter, regretfully I suspect many English folks would find the opposite to be true), however the English flag, that is to say the flag of the country where one resides, is not generally considered offensive to anyone. Indeed, if white supremacist groups have hijacked the national flag for their racist idiocy, surely the solution is to encourage others who are not of their ethnic background to display the flag and thus reclaim it for the entire nation. Mr Carter, as the photo from the local newspaper's article clearly shows, would seem to be a perfect candidate.

By the way, for those who think that the council are total prats, Mr Google shows me this document which has contact information for Ian McInery, operational services manager for Pendle council:
Tel: 01282 661752 or [email protected].
Another good contact to complain to would be Richard Boyd, Press & Promotions Officer, Pendle Council. Tel: 01282 661970. Presumably his email address is [email protected]. One can also use the Pendle Council website's contact page.

*wogland in the sense of "Wogs begin at Calais" not refering to any particular ethnic group